These gorgeous, super moist Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Cupcakes are the definition of cozy fall vibes. Topped with toasted vanilla marshmallow meringue frosting, they have a sweet potato casserole meets pumpkin pie feel - and I’m all about it.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
When summer turns to fall, nothing gets me into a hygge spirit like sweet potato and pumpkin flavored everything like pumpkin affogatos, pumpkin sweet cream cold foam, pumpkin butter and a loaf of pumpkin bread! This delightfully easy recipe for eye-catching cupcakes combines my two orange-fleshed loves in the best possible way: cake!
Flavored with warm spices like cinnamon, allspice and cardamom, these are unmistakably pumpkin spice cupcakes - but with a little twist.
Adding in sweet potato and topping with a simple, 3-ingredient frosting (that you torch for a toasted marshmallow flair!) gives these cupcakes a flavor that is reminiscent of my favorite Thanksgiving side.
I highly recommend you make these stunning sweet potato and pumpkin cupcakes next time you get the itch to bake - they’ll have you wanting to cuddle up under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!
These pumpkin & sweet potato cupcakes are simply the best, in large part due to their ingredients. Here’s a little breakdown:
- Butter & Oil - Using both butter and oil to make cakes is the best of all worlds; you get the light, lofty rise and even crumb of an oil cake plus the delicious flavor of butter. Be sure to use neutral tasting oil like grapeseed or vegetable oil; I don’t recommend using olive oil because the flavor is too pungent.
- Sweet Potato & Pumpkin - Like I said, I have a love affair with both of these brightly hued fall favorites. If you’re in a pinch, you can easily go with all pumpkin or all sweet potato. Just make sure that you are using a well puréed base; nobody wants chunks of veggies in their cupcakes!
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda - These leaveners act in different ways; be sure you’re using both.
- Brown Sugar - I like the deep caramel flavor of dark brown sugar here, but light will do just fine. If you’re out, try making your own using molasses and granulated sugar.
- Sour Cream - Packed with both fat and acid, sour cream is a magical addition to cake batter. The acid helps to tenderize the gluten strands and activate the baking soda, while the extra fat content lends a velvety mouthfeel to the cake. Feel free to use plain greek yogurt (preferably full fat) as an easy swap.
The 3-ingredient vanilla marshmallow meringue frosting is also an utter revelation. All you need are:
- Egg Whites - Make sure there are no yolks here. The fat will keep them from whipping up into their full fluffy potential.
- Sugar - Granulated sugar (or superfine sugar) is the best option here!
- Vanilla Paste - I’m a sucker for the flecks of vanilla bean in my desserts, and vanilla paste is much cheaper than whole vanilla beans. You can also swap in vanilla extract, but you’ll lose a bit in the presentation.
These pumpkin & sweet potato cupcakes with toasted marshmallow meringue frosting require a few specialty pieces of equipment. I highly recommend investing in:
- A Cookie Scoop - Also known as a disher, these are instrumental in getting all the finger-licking good cake batter into the cupcake liners with minimal mess.
- Piping Bags & Tips - Technically speaking, you can totally use a zip top bag with the corner cut off to pipe on your frosting. That said, investing in real piping bags and a few key tips will give your final cupcakes a polished, elevated look that is very hard to achieve without them.
- A Kitchen Torch - This might sound like an extravagant expenditure, but torches come in very handy in the kitchen. You can also snag one for about $15!
📖 Step by Step Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside for the time being.
Make Cake Batter
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice) in a medium bowl and set aside.
Add the brown sugar, butter and olive oil to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Working with one ingredient at a time, add the room temperature egg, pumpkin purée, sweet potato purée and sour cream.
Make sure to scrape the bowl between additions to ensure everything is well mixed.
Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing until just combined.
Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, add batter into each cupcake liner until it is halfway full. Bake the cupcakes until golden and puffed, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean - this should take about 16 minutes.
Make Meringue Icing
Add your sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and place over a saucepan of boiling water. Whisk to dissolve the sugar into the egg whites. If using a thermometer you should reach 165 degrees F.
Make sure that your bowl is not touching the hot water! Your goal is to simply whisk the egg whites and sugar together over a gentle heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, then attach your bowl back to the standing mixer.
Whisk mixture starting at a low speed and gradually increase until soft peaks form and the mixture has completely cooled. Add vanilla, and mix on low until combined.
Allow cupcakes to cool completely before icing. Pipe meringue on top of the pumpkin spice cupcakes and then use your torch to lightly brown the meringue. Enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Making these fall-themed pumpkin & sweet potato cupcakes is pretty straightforward. That said, I have a lot of baking experience under this apron, so I’ll share the best tips I’ve learned along the way:
- Use a scale. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - baking is SCIENCE. The more accurate you are with your measurements, the better (and more consistent) your results will be.
- Use a thermometer for the egg whites, and an oven thermometer. Ensuring the egg whites reach 165F is important for food safety, and ovens are finicky.
- The egg should be room temp for cake batter. Room temp eggs will incorporate into batter more easily, which will prevent you from over mixing. Which reminds me,
- Don’t over mix the batter. Once the batter is uniform in appearance, stop. If you keep mixing, you’ll end up with a rubbery, tough cake, and nobody wants that.
- Make sure your mixing bowl and beaters are super clean for making meringue. Fat is Enemy #1 of light, fluffy egg white meringue. If you’re using the same mixing bowl/beaters for both the meringue frosting and the cupcake batter, I’d recommend making the meringue first.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Feel free to swap out the cinnamon, cardamom and allspice for an equivalent measure of pumpkin pie spice.
Absolutely! Simply use your favorite plant-based butter and sour cream/greek yogurt substitute instead.
Gluten-free baking is a tricky science, and one that I’m not as familiar with. Reason leads me to believe that a cup-for-cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend *should* work here, but I haven’t tried it myself. If you do try, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below!!
In a large bowl, mix sweet potato puree, wet ingredients, and the sweet potato mixture. Gradually whisk flour and remaining flour mixture on medium-high speed using the whisk attachment on an electric mixer until well combined - overmixing will lead to a tough texture so mix lightly!
Using a double boiler, melt mini marshmallows with corn syrup, then transfer to a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, ensuring a glossy marshmallow fluff perfect for piping with a piping bag.
More Fall Recipes
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Best Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Vanilla Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
- Spoon or Cookie Scoop
- Cupcake Liners
- Small Blow Torch
Vanilla Bean Meringue
- 3 Egg Whites
- 1 Cup (200 g) Sugar
- 1 Scraped Vanilla Bean , or 2 teaspoon Vanilla Paste
Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 1 ½ Cups (187 g) All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 1 cup (220 g) Brown Sugar, packed
- ¼ Cup (57 g) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- ¼ Cup (56 g) Grapeseed or Canola Oil
- 1 Large Egg, room temperature
- ½ Cup (125 g) Pumpkin Puree
- ½ Cup (140 g) Sweet Potato Puree, Baked or roasted sweet potato, blended until smooth
- ¼ Cup (60 g) Sour Cream
Vanilla Bean Meringue
- Add your sugar and egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and place over a saucepan of boiling water. Make sure that your bowl is not touching the hot water! Your goal is to simply whisk the egg whites and sugar together over a gentle heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, then attach your bowl back to the standing mixer. If using a thermometer you should reach 165 degrees F.3 Egg Whites, 1 Cup Sugar
- Whisk mixture starting at a low speed and gradually increase until soft peaks form and the mixture has completely cooled.
- Add vanilla, and mix on low until combined.1 Scraped Vanilla Bean
Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside for the time being.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice in a medium bowl and set aside.1 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour, 1 teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda, ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt, 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom, ¼ teaspoon Ground Allspice
- Add the brown sugar, butter, and olive oil to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the room temperature egg, pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree, and sour cream one at a time. Make sure to scrape the bowl in between additions to ensure everything is well mixed.1 cup Brown Sugar, ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter, ¼ Cup Grapeseed or Canola Oil, 1 Large Egg, ½ Cup Pumpkin Puree, ½ Cup Sweet Potato Puree, ¼ Cup Sour Cream
- Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing until just combined.
- Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, add batter into each cupcake liner until it is halfway full. Bake the cupcakes until golden and puffed, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean which should be about 16 minutes.
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely before piping meringue on top of the cupcakes and then using a torch, lightly brown the meringue before enjoying!
- What if I don’t have cardamom or allspice? Feel free to swap out the cinnamon, cardamom and allspice for an equivalent measure of pumpkin pie spice.
- Can I make these without dairy? Absolutely! Simply use your favorite plant-based butter and sour cream/greek yogurt substitute instead.
- Can I make them gluten-free? Gluten-free baking is a tricky science and one that I’m not as familiar with. Reason leads me to believe that a cup-for-cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend *should* work here, but I haven’t tried it myself. If you do try, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below!!